Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Grace Note of Gratitude

For Thanksgiving, I'm collecting tales of gratitude and satisfaction to counter all the publicity horror stories. Send yours now to {bystander at bellastander dot com}.

Here's a taste of things to come, from Timothy Schaffert, author of The Singing and Dancing Daughters of God, who hit the road last fall for his "Bad Tuxedo Book & Music Tour":

For my book tour, I teamed up with local musicians of the various towns I visited because music is a major element of the novel. The musicians would perform, setting the tone of longing and honkytonk, then I would read from the novel. Though at times the crowds were thin (in some cases, to the point of diaphanous) the musicians all performed as if to a roomful of the faithful.

In Indianapolis, Jeff Roberson performed a sweet duet with his young daughter as a nod to the songwriter in my novel, who also has a melodic little girl. At a bookstore in one town that forgot I was coming [argh!], the jazz singer J. Scott Franklin patiently set up the sound equipment himself, kept his cool as the equipment proved faulty, and performed a long lovely set on a rainy Sunday afternoon. And Thomas Trimble of the Detroit band American Mars invited me to crash at his pad for a few nights.

The day that I left to hit the road again, Thomas’s pre-school-age daughters, Mary and Frances, began to follow me out in their pajamas and bare feet. “Where are you going?” Thomas asked, and they nonchalantly explained that they were walking me to my car to say good-bye. Thomas picked them up and carried them to the curb and the girls waved their farewell, and continued to wave until they were no longer in my rearview mirror.

In Mississippi, I read to a crowd of 200 who had mostly come to hear the delightful Ruby Jane Smith, the 10-year-old fiddler and clog dancer. Despite the sizable audience that night, I only sold one Ruby Jane’s grandfather.

Scotty Karate, the punk/country warbler of Detroit, generously hit the road to make the drive all the way to McHenry, Illinois, to join me on a double bill, but ended up doing a road tour of breweries along the way (which included the sampling of a new brew named after him—Scotty Karate Ale), getting into fisticuffs, and getting lost on the highway. So I’ve not yet met Mr. Karate, but we do keep in touch.

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